Exploring a Diversity of Discourses
The Global Poverty Conference: Strategies, Solutions, and Networks was a great success thanks to the hard work and dedication of many individuals from Washington University’s Career Center, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, and International & Area Studies Program. The two-day conference hosted on November 10th and 11th brought together over ten panelists and speakers from a variety of locations, professions, and interests.
The Economic Development and Social Enterprise Panel and keynote presentation from Dr. Fred Ssewamala of Columbia University illuminated not only the many ways that we understand poverty, but also the many fields of study and types of professions that are attempting to address the issue of global and local poverty. While Dr. Carolyn Lesorogol of Washington University’s Brown School and Dr. Ssewamala presented the benefits of academic studies and fieldwork can offer to combat poverty in Africa, Kyle Wiggins spoke about how his start-up Keteka helps global travelers directly impact the communities they are visiting instead of simply funneling funds through large travel agencies. Although the conference had “global” in the title, Tyrone Turner from Better Family Life Inc. reminded the audience that local poverty is also part of a greater global poverty: one cannot be addressed without addressing the other. The first day of the conference also included an opportunity for students of the Brown School and Washington University to present their research and international experiences regarding poverty, development, medicine, etc.
The second day of the conference focused on some of the groups that have been most oppressed within the global system. During the Vulnerability and Needs Assessment Panel Dr. Paul Anand of Open University in London, Jacqueline Moodley of the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Suzanne LeLaurin of the International Institute of St. Louis revealed the many struggles of immigrants, refugees, and individuals with disabilities. The Gender and Human Rights Panel featuring Dr. Anne Sebert Kuhlmann (SLU), Dr. Mary Mulhern Kincaid (President of Iris Group), Dr. Shanti Parikh (WUSTL), and Dr. Samantha Page (Liverpool Hope University) concluded the conference with an in-depth conversation about the history and interrelations of gender and poverty worldwide.
The International & Area Studies program would like to thank all speakers, contributors, volunteers, and planners for helping to make this event possible. It truly was an outstanding opportunity for the Washington University community to delve deeper into the global and local issues of poverty, as well as to explore a wide range of career paths to explore going forward.